By Darlynn Morgan, Orange County Tax Lawyer
Welcome to Southern California, where winter weddings are always a popular choice for couples who don’t have to worry about the snow or freezing temperatures the way they do in other states.
However, as an Orange County tax lawyer, I will say there is one HUGE thing couples getting married in December almost always overlook, which often results in their first unnecessary bill as a married couple.
So what’s that?
It’s amazing how many people don’t realize that even if they are married on the last day of the year, they will still have to file a joint tax return for the ENTIRE year. This could easily result in unwanted tax consequences and the possibility of having to send a larger check to Uncle Sam come April 15th.
Now yes, I admit that in some cases filing jointly can save a newly married couple money. This is especially true if one spouse earns significantly more money than the other. But in most cases (especially those in which the bride and groom earn a similar salary) filing as a married couple will actually COST you money in the end.
That is why I, as an Orange County Tax Lawyer, always advise people to talk with their CPA before getting married in late November or December.
Of course your CPA (or I for that matter!) probably won’t advise you to change the wedding date (as you’ve likely had everything booked a year in advance), but perhaps, if you are going to be hit with unexpected tax consequences you might consider it –unless it were possible to wait and file the official paperwork until after the 1st of the year..
Don’t have a CPA and not sure who to talk to regarding the potential tax consequences of your winter wedding? Please feel free to give me, your neighborhood Orange County Tax Lawyer a call and I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
And while you’re in the process of getting your financial ducks in a row, check out this page that explains the importance of newlywed planning.
Contrary to popular belief, newlywed planning isn’t just about creating a California premarital agreement, although that is certainly one strategy to consider. Newlywed planning goes hand in hand with estate planning, because other strategies involve setting up a separate property trust to segregate property that a spouse enters the marriage with. It may even provide the couple with asset protection that can give them both peace of mind.
So if you own separate assets or have children from a previous relationship, I can’t stress enough the importance of speaking with a lawyer about newlywed planning before the big day. It is one of the smartest things you can do to make sure your children, assets and wishes are protected if something unexpectedly happens (ie. death, incapacity, divorce, lawsuits, etc).
Fortunately, we’ve made the process of meeting with an attorney easier than ever by offering 10 free Family Wealth Planning Sessions each month to readers of our blog (normally $750). Simply call (949) 260-1400 to reserve your spot. Your new family will thank you as you put a rock-solid hedge of protection around them that will last for generations to come.